Diplomats from Africa’s three representatives and that of the Caribbean at the UN Security Council gathered in Nairobi Monday for a three-day retreat to work on a common agenda as the continent faces three crucial crises.
The diplomats from hosts Kenya, Tunisia, Niger and the Saint Vincent and Grenadines, often known within UN circles as A3 Plus 1, are meeting for a common agenda on peace and security.
Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau said in a statement the group is strategising on the “execution of her peace and security mandate at both the UN Security Council and at the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC).”
He was referring to the AU’s 15-member body which usually advises on action to be taken when member states face security trouble such as in events of unconstitutional changes in power. The meeting in Nairobi is also being attended by representatives from the Permanent Observer Mission of the African Union to the United Nations, in New York.
The African Group has traditionally worked with the Caribbean, based on historical ties as well as common problems usually discussed at the UN Security Council, to front a common stand on issues such as terrorism and general issues of peace and security.
“The A3+1 arrangement has become a formidable part of the UN Security Council Political workings, in addition to providing a critical platform for the prosecution of Africa’s Agenda – and that of the Sixth Region (the Caribbean) – at the UN Security Council,” Kamau said.
The meeting, he said, will “reinvigorate and energise the work of the A3+1” on common approach to matters affecting the African continent.
Both Africa and the Caribbean have no permanent member on the Council, which means that the composition of the A3+1 often changes every year. Kenya will be a member until December 2022. The Council nonetheless has passed most resolutions affecting the African continent.
The Council has recently discussed the situation in Tigray, deploring the humanitarian situation. They also discussed the filling of the controversial Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD), asking riparian countries of the Nile to tone down inflammatory remarks, as well as the situation in Somalia where the much-delayed elections are due later this month.
The Africa Group has also pushed for reforms, and demanded the central role of the continent on issues affecting African member states. For example, on GERD, the Group said the UN Security Council must allow the Principle of Subsidiarity, where regional blocs take leading roles in mediating local conflicts.
The African Union has been mediating the dispute between Ethiopia on one side, and Sudan and Egypt on the other, but the sides have not agreed on filling and operation formula for Africa’s most expensive dam. Khartoum and Cairo had asked for the intervention of the UN but Addis Ababa opposed this, saying the AU was capable. On Monday, Addis Ababa said it had completed the second filling of the Dam, which Sudan and Egypt had protested against.